Teaching dogs new tricks.
Steven Buzzard buzzard, common name for hawks of the genus Buteo and the genus Pernis, or honey buzzard, of the Old World family Accipitridae. Honey buzzards feed on insects, wasp and bumblebee larvae, and small reptiles. joined the West Virginia West Virginia, E central state of the United States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania and Maryland (N), Virginia (E and S), and Kentucky and, across the Ohio R., Ohio (W). Facts and Figures
Area, 24,181 sq mi (62,629 sq km). Pop. Division of Corrections as a correctional officer in 1993 after 20 years of service in the U.S. Army. "I've always enjoyed law enforcement and ended up just falling into corrections," he says. During his first year with the division, Buzzard worked at Huntsville Correctional Center, where he joined the escape squad, became a field training officer for his shift and became a certified defensive tactics instructor.
When a position was posted for a passive response narcotics narcotics n. 1) techinically, drugs which dull the senses. 2) a popular generic term for drugs which cannot be legally possessed, sold, or transported except for medicinal uses for which a physician or dentist's prescription is required. detection canine handler A software routine that performs a particular task. It often refers to a routine that "handles" an exception of some kind, such as an error, but it can refer to mainstream processes as well. The term is typically used in operating systems and other system software. , Buzzard applied and was accepted for the job. "I've always loved dogs, so this was a great opportunity for me," Buzzard says. In May 1994, he attended the Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) Canine Basic Handler's Course at the Maryland State Police The Maryland State Police is the official state police force of the State of Maryland. Overview of the Maryland State Police
The Field Operations Bureau comprises twenty-three (23) barracks within six (6) geographical troop areas. Academy.
During the next two years, Buzzard and his partner, Buster, a 7-year-old black lab, traveled throughout the state conducting drug scans at all of the Division's institutions, parole offices and regional jails. Buzzard soon became a member of the Aladrue Task Force, the Division of Corrections Drug Task Force, and performed demonstrations for Drug Awareness Resistence Education (D.A.R.E.) programs and school assemblies.
Due to Buzzard's success in the division's fight against drugs and the demand for his services, two more CDS canine teams were added in 1996. It eventually became evident that even more teams were needed, and Buzzard was sent to a U.S. Customs Technical Trainers' Course to allow him to train and certify teams for the division. Currently, there are seven teams and Buzzard says he is hoping to add three more by the end of the year. He oversees the deployment of all dogs, which are located at four separate institutions in the state.
In 1998, Buzzard was promoted to lieutenant and the headquarters and training center for the canine program were moved from the Huntsville Correctional Center to the division's newest institution, St. Mary's Correctional Center.
Buzzard notes that, when choosing, he looks for dogs that are 1 to 2 years old. All prospective dogs are put through several tests. "We look for high-energy dogs that have a high fetch drive, mostly bird dogs, like labradors and golden retrievers golden retriever, breed of large sporting dog developed primarily in Scotland in the mid-19th cent. It stands about 23 in. (58.4 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 60 to 75 lb (27.2–34.1 kg). ," he says. They start by introducing the dogs to the types of odors Odors
Medicine. the absence of the sense of smell; olfactory anesthesia. Also called anosphrasia. — anosmic, adj.
bad breath; an unpleasant odor emanating from the mouth. they want them to find. The bulk of the training is done through reward and repetition. He says that his teams use towels as rewards for the dogs because they allow the handlers handlers
persons involved in the handling of, for example, circus animals. Includes grooms, milkers, herdsmen, strappers. Used mostly in referring to persons handling animals for show or auction. to interact with the dogs and play tug-of-war. "We throw a towel to see if the dog will fetch it and then we throw the towel under a vehicle to see if the dog will get it," says Buzzard, adding, "Then we throw it in a small room and see how the dog reacts to the floor and small confined spaces Confined space is a term from labor-safety regulations that refers to an area whose enclosed conditions and limited access make it dangerous. Description
A confined space is any space: 1) that has limited or restricted means of entry or exit; 2) is large enough for a ."
The dogs come primarily from private donations and pounds. "Buster came from a Maryland pound The pound was the currency of Maryland until 1793. Initially, the British pound circulated along with foreign coins. From 1733, this was supplemented by paper money, known as "Proclamation Money". and would have been put down if I hadn't gotten him when I did," says Buzzard. "It's nice because I guess I saved his life." Buzzard points out that the dogs are primarily used to conduct scans of inmate visitors as they come into the institutions. They also are taken out with inmate work crews throughout the state.
Buzzard's biggest challenge is adapting to new situations. "There are always new areas we are finding that we can use them and just finding ways to do it is exciting," he says. "I love my job because I get to play with dogs all day."
Susan L. Clayton is senior editor of Corrections Today.